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All I Want for Christmas is to Stay out of Debt

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

With Christmas rapidly approaching, now is the time to set your Christmas spending plan in motion.

There are some simple rules to follow to avoid unwanted January debt. Most of us know them, yet how well do we implement them?

Avoid Impulsive Buying

Write a list. Know who you need to buy for and set limits on how much you will spend for each person. Stick to this limit.

“The closer it gets to Christmas, the more likely you are to panic buy and break your budget,” says ME Bank spokesperson Rebecca James.

Plan to shop ahead of time to avoid putting too many purchases on the credit card at the last minute.

Do some research before going to the shopping centre by going online and comparing prices.

Be in Control of Your Credit Card

The Retail Council Christmas Spending Index for 2015 is forecasting that “Nationally $35 billion is expected to be spent in the lead up to Christmas”.

Credit cards make it too easy to spend money. Only spend money that you know you can afford to pay back by the time the interest free period runs out on your credit card.

With an average credit card interest rate around 17% that thought alone should deter you from overspending on the plastic. Credit card interest rates are more than nearly four times the interest rates of some mortgages.

Don’t kid yourself by sharing the spend over multiple cards. Consider using only one card as it is a lot easier to keep track of what you have spent when it’s all on the one bill.

Use Software to Track Your Expenses

If you have been unsuccessful at sticking to a budget in the past, take advantage of free software to track your expenses.

The MoneySmart website features an application called TrackMySPEND which tracks your spending and allows you to set a limit. It can be downloaded to your smart phone so you can monitor your spending on the go and keep track of every single purchase.

During this festive season it is easy to overspend. Remember;

If you fail to plan; then you plan to fail.

Speaking of planning, if you would like some help developing your financial plan for 2016, why not give us a call on 1300 726 082? Our financial planning team is here to help. We can discuss your current situation, and look what you want to achieve, both now and in the future. It’s never too early to start planning for next Christmas and I look forward to the opportunity to help you reach your financial goals.

Disclaimer: John Hopkins Financial Services Pty Ltd are Representatives of WealthSure Financial Services Pty Ltd Level 1 190 Stirling Street PERTH WA 6000 ACN:130 288 578 AFSL: 326450. 

General Advice Warning: This advice may not be suitable to you because it contains general advice that has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal financial advice prior to acting on this information.

How to Pass a Final Inspection

At the end of every tenancy, our property managers conduct a final inspection to ensure the property is left in the same condition as it was given to the tenants at the start of their lease. This is an important step in the vacate process, as it helps us determine how much, if not all, of the bond will be refunded to the exiting tenants.

Our aim at this inspection is not to “nit-pick” or grab at your bond – we always take wear and tear into consideration – but we need to make sure that the property is presented in a reasonable condition to the next tenants. If for some reason we need to deduct from the bond, we will only take what is needed to bring the property up to this reasonable condition.

To help you avoid any unnecessary deductions, I have come up with a few hints and tips to help ensure you pass your final inspection and make the process of moving out a smooth and stress-free experience. I’ve highlighted a few areas below that your property manager will always pay close attention to, as in the hustle and bustle of vacating, they are often overlooked by even the most discerning tenants.

Showers, screens and base
Make sure you scrub! Check to ensure that any soap scum has been removed and shower screens are clear. Your bathroom should sparkle.

Kitchen stove top and oven

Like the bathroom, a little bit of elbow grease goes a long way in the kitchen. Wipe down the stove top and splash back, and ensure the oven is thoroughly cleaned. Don’t forget to clean the range hood, there can often be a build up of oil in the mesh so make sure you pull it out and rinse it!

Walls and minor scuff markings

Sugar soap works a treat when cleaning walls of minor scuff marks. Wipe down the walls as you would any other surface, and watch the scuffs disappear!


Ensure your carpets are professionally steam cleaned, and receipt is provided when you return your keys. Have a chat with your property manager before you book in a carpet clean, as they’ll often have a preferred cleaner that they can recommend.

Light globes

Don’t leave the next tenants in the dark! Check to all the light globes to ensure they are in working order, and replace any that have blown.

There is an old adage that says “treat others how you want to be treated”, and I am a strong believer that the same sentiment should apply to your rental property. You wouldn’t want to move into a neglected property, so it makes sense that you leave your property in tip-top condition for the next tenant. By watching out for the items above and following our helpful tips, hopefully we can make your vacate a dream and refund your bond in full.

For more tips on how to master a vacate clean and complete all those annoying tasks like scrubbing the walls, cleaning the range hood or getting your shower screens to sparkle, try YouTube for some helpful video tutorials. In the meantime, download a copy of The Hopkins Group Vacating Checklist that might prompt some things you hadn’t thought of.

To discuss any of your vacate concerns as a tenant or if you have any questions about preferred suppliers, don’t hesitate to contact a member of The Hopkins Group Property Management team.

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The Hopkins Group

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Level 23, 500 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3001

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GPO Box 4347, Melbourne, VIC 3001

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